Robyn Long

"This dialogue with SFU provided me with the opportunity to experience the sort of personal mentoring that is so instrumental in the success of a graduate program."

Robyn Long, PhD student in Educational Psychology

Dr. Maria Montessori said: “It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe.” My time as a Montessori teacher has made me passionate about human development, and while understanding how we learn is at the heart of how we teach, it might be our understanding and examination of a much broader framework for learning and living that affect how well we teach. My current research interests include instructional efficacy, self-regulation, and social development in Montessori classrooms.

What attracted you to come to SFU?

I wanted to explore new terrain as a doctoral student.  Moving to Canada from New York was a pivotal shift both geographically and culturally. Investigating several schools in British Columbia, I searched for a program that would allow me to tailor my educational process to suit my academic and professional interests. I spoke with my assigned SFU pro-tem supervisor several times before making my final decision on what university I would attend. This dialogue with SFU provided me with the opportunity to experience the sort of personal mentoring that is so instrumental in the success of a graduate program.

Who is a faculty member you have enjoyed working with and in what way?

Dr. Margaret MacDonald has been instrumental in guiding my course in this program.  Our formative discussions have provided a framework and foundation for my future research endeavors. She has been responsive and supportive of my work in addition to serving as a bridge connecting me to the surrounding school community.

What inspires you to learn and to continue your education?

My experience as a Montessori teacher has awakened me to a world of common and widespread misconceptions about children, their abilities, and their role in society.  I now envision myself as both an early childhood teacher as well as an advocate. I feel a responsibility to educate adults and provide them with the lens and tools to understand the wonderful and principal aspects of childhood that are often ignored.  Every day I am inspired to make a difference in the lives of others and my pursuit of learning is fueled by the knowledge that we can inspire others through collaboration and education.